Police chiefs want tighter traffic laws

Police chiefs in Alberta want the provincial government to toughen up its traffic laws.

EDMONTON — Police chiefs in Alberta want the provincial government to toughen up its traffic laws.They have voted in favour of a resolution that would allow officers to seize vehicles of drivers caught going more than 50 kilometres per hour over the speed limit.

It would also give officers the authority to suspend drivers’ licences — both of which would last one week.

Edmonton police chief Rod Knecht says there’s too many people being killed on the highways and it’s due to people driving 160-170 km/h and even 200 km/h.

The chiefs don’t want it to be a mandatory seizure; they want police to have the ability to use their discretion when seizing the vehicle.

Knecht says that would accommodate circumstances such as a woman in labour with a complication.

“We just don’t want to see people killed,” said Knecht, who is head of the Alberta Chiefs of Police.

The vote was not unanimous because in some rural areas, worries about access to tow trucks is an issue.

The chiefs approved a similar motion in 2009, but the province turned it down.

There have been several cases of people being charged with excessive speeding in Central Alberta.

Last week Ponoka’s Integrated Traffic Unit caught 65 speeders and aggressive drivers while targeting morning commuters — including a 17-year-old driving 204 km/h on Hwy 2. The speed limit on Hwy 2 is 110 km/h.

The Lacombe youth was clocked going 94 km over the posted speed limit on Wednesday. He was charged with dangerous driving and is scheduled to appear in Ponoka provincial court on Aug. 14.

Police say the majority of tickets issued over the two-day operation were for speeding and many of those caught exceeded the 110 speed limit by more than 40 km/h.

The operation was on Hwy 2 north of Red Deer near Hwy 12, and in in response to numerous complaints received from the public regarding dangerous drivers during the morning commute.

In late May a 15-year-old teenage girl from Red Deer was charged with speeding after a vehicle was clocked at 187 km/h on Hwy 2 near the Crossfield overpass.

Airdrie Integrated Traffic Unit was alerted to be on the lookout for a speeding vehicle. When the vehicle was pulled over, RCMP allege the teenager, who did not have a licence, tried to switch seats with a front-seat passenger.

She has been charged been with speeding at 77 km/h over the speed limit, driving an uninsured motor vehicle, driving without a licence and failing to provide proof of vehicle registration.

She is due to appear in Airdrie provincial court on July 2. Her name can’t be released under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

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